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The City Gates As They Appeared Before They Were Torn Down

May 31, 2018
by the gentle author

Discovering the sixteenth century figures of Old King Lud & his sons that once stood upon Ludgate yet are now forgotten in an alley of Fleet St, made me think more closely of the gates that once surrounded the City of London.

So I was delighted to come upon this eighteenth century print in the Spitalfields Market for a couple of pounds with the plangent title “The City Gates As They Appeared Before They Were Torn Down.”

Printed in 1775, this plate recorded venerable edifices that had been demolished in recent decades and was reproduced in Harrison’s History of London, a publication notable for featuring Death and an Hourglass upon the title page as if to emphasise the mutable, ever-changing nature of the capital and the brief nature of our residence in it.

Moorgate (demolished 1761)

Aldgate (demolished 1761)

Bishopsgate (demolished 1760)

Cripplegate (demolished 1760)

Ludgate (demolished 1760)

Newgate (demolished 1767)

Aldersgate (demolished 1617)

Bridgegate (demolished 1762)

The City Gates As They Appeared Before They Were Torn Down, engraved for Harrison’s History of London 1775

Sixteenth century figures of King Lud and his sons that formerly stood upon Ludgate, and stowed ever since in an alley at the side of St Dunstan in the West, Fleet St

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The Gates of Old London

9 Responses leave one →
  1. May 31, 2018

    At last my curiosity is satisfied. I have often wondered what Newgate actually looked like! Thank you.

  2. May 31, 2018

    Were these all demolished for the purposes of traffic flow? What a tremendous change was wrought in the 1760s.

    Thank you as ever, GA, for such an interesting glimpse back in time. Will look for King Lud next time I’m in Fleet St.

  3. Jamie Surman permalink
    May 31, 2018

    As always, amazing…

  4. John Barrett permalink
    May 31, 2018

    Super find by GA I liked Newgate with its large wind direction finder quite unique here. Of course the gates were not wide enough for later traffic, so down they came. King Lud and co could have a bright feature !museums take note. With some conservation magic and coloring they could be breathtaking at front of house. ?Were they Royals. Poet John – Poetry Soc & Bus Pass Poet Bristol

  5. May 31, 2018

    Wouldn’t it be brilliant to have been able to see them all in their original places? But I love the fact that the statues are simply standing there, no fuss. I will pop and doff my hat to them next time I am in the area.

  6. Erica permalink
    May 31, 2018

    fascinating, thank you! I love seeing the old engravings of London.

  7. Helen Breen permalink
    May 31, 2018

    Greetings from Boston,

    GA, thanks for yet another dimension to the fascinating history of London and its many portals…

  8. May 31, 2018

    You had me at…….”venerable edifices”. YOU, sir, are an endless resource of amazements.

    These prints made me want to get out my scissors, glue, cardboard and create a diorama.

    Many thanks, as ever.

  9. May 31, 2018

    Were they demolished because of deterioration? The 1760’s almost look like there was a campaign to get rid of them?

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